We returned to the court today, the first time since the prelim…
I awoke today, as I have everyday since, at just half past 3am. My heart racing, the scream on my lips - I don’t just sit up, I jump up, and the adrenaline dump of this awareness forces me to start my day. I pour my coffee, and sip it in the quiet dark. My dogs, who are my constant companions now, awake with me each day. They follow me to the kitchen, and then lay at my feet where I sit. Loa, the fuzzy puppy we got for Kessa this summer after her painful weekend at “murder camp”, has taken to lying on my bad right leg. Her warm fuzziness is soothing to its pain.
I still get lost in the hours it takes, to wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair and get dressed… And so, with my second cup of coffee in hand and three dogs in tow, I climb the stairs to begin this burdensome task.
Today, will be just another appearance to see where both sides stand in the first courtroom. The DA is waiting still, for the FBI blood analysis to be finished. He is hoping that by the next court date that is set for March 8th now, he will have their final report. And Gary’s defense lawyers have to let the judge know if they are prepared – and ready to proceed.
We met Gary's lawyers at the prelim. When they shared their condolences for what he’d done, and asked if they could speak with us at a future date. They called, a month or so ago, and asked to come over to talk with me. This is not something VICTIMS have to do. It’s not even, I guess, something Victims usually concede to do. I think most fear they will give away something to the defense that in turn will be used against them. But we have nothing to give away. I answered their question honestly, and directly.
I understand, they MUST put together ‘some type of defense’… And if we are ever to really get to the trial – they must come up with something! And I pity them this job, of trying to come up with something out of this situation. For it must be the ‘best defense they can present’, because those are Gary’s rights under the law. And the truth is – they haven’t really much to work with!
They agree they can be ready to proceed by the March 8th date.
And then in the next courtroom, this case is being transferred to a new judges docket. The judge we were assigned almost one year ago now, is leaving. And our trial is being reassigned a new judge to preside.
On the way downstairs to this courtroom, I saw Maggie, the Patch editor, in the Hall. She is sitting outside the courtroom, where Marquise McGlown is being arraigned for murdering and then burning that young mother who lived in the apartments. She lets me know how it is going inside for them. I share with her that the blood analysis is not yet done, and we’re getting a new judge. Then I leaned down to give her a hug, to say goodbye. Maggie and I have become close this last year. I have great respect for her, for she has honest integrity – a rare quality to find, in someone who speaks for the media.
Each of these short, court appearances is so very difficult to endure. In the first courtroom, I observed this man who has murdered my daughter. He is wearing an orange jumpsuit, which means they have now moved him closer to the general population in the prison. He does not look so cocky any longer, as he sits with his shoulders slumped. He no longer holds the look of such superiority on his face. He seems much more sober now, to his fate. His attorney sits next to him, to speak. I see that murderous smile flash across his face, just his face really, in response to something his lawyer has said… But to me, it will always be MURDEROUS – for this image of him that morning is burned into my mind like a photograph.
And as always, we see his mother in the hallway, before the doors open. She too, is looking a little worse for wear today. Maybe it’s the shock of seeing what her son really did - how he so brutalized my Saskia, at the prelim… Maybe it’s the realization, that he’s not walking away from this and coming home. For today she does not look at us and smile. Her people stand around her, so she can hide. And when we find ourselves seated on opposite sides of this second courtroom, still - she hides.
I return home after this, to these three dogs who have been impatiently waiting for me by the door. They greet me, tails wagging and kisses. I am too exhausted from my emotions of court. And so I grab my blanket, and lie down upon the spot my Saskia was taken. My three puppies snuggle close, and sleep finally finds me once more.